Last June Todd and I got to sit in on a SS class for seniors at Briarwood Church in Birmingham. No we are not seniors yet! They did not check ID at the door and maybe did not notice we were just in our 40’s. The teacher in the class, Tom Bradford, was a godly man in his 80’s. Both Todd and I felt we could sit at his feet for hours listening to his words of wisdom. Do you know anyone like that? This man was a layman and his powerful message could have been shared behind any pulpit in America. It was on finishing well. I think often about finishing well. Do you? Paul encourages us in I Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
The research on Christian leaders is startling. Few finish well. But research shows the ones who do finish well have something in common. These men and women had mentors who coached them in timely situations along the way. Mentoring relationships significantly enhance the development of those who stay the course. A simple definition of mentoring is a coaching relationship where one person helps equip, develop or empower a person by sharing God-given resources.
Think about leadership failures you have heard of in the past 10 years? I’m sure there are many more we don’t hear about. Do you think adequate mentoring might have prevented most of these failures? Mentoring can reduce the probability of leadership failure, provide needed accountability and empower a responsive leader. In my own life I feel so grateful for the mentors who have been in my life. I was not brought up in a Christian home but in different seasons of my life I sought out a variety of mentors. The benefit is too great to communicate in a short blog. Today I continue to learn from others.
As a woman in mnistry I recognize that there don’t seem to be enough mentors to go around. I also realize that the more you grow in leadership that list grows smaller. But I want to give you hope that mentors are out there for you. In a future blog I will share a few insights on how you can be mentored no matter what your circumstances.
What are you doing today to ensure that you finish well?